Criticisms fly over US exercise aimed at keeping oil shipping lanes open
US Navy officials in Bahrain have hit back at criticism of a major mine-sweeping exercise in the Gulf designed to show global will to keep oil shipping lanes open as Israel and Iran trade threats of war.
Thirty countries from six continents took part in the 10-day operation, which involved 3,000 sailors and 20 military cruise ships, helicopters and specialist divers.
US broadcaster PBS Newshour reported less than half of the 29 dummy mines dropped at sea were found during exercise, quoting retired US Navy Captain Robert O'Donnell, a former mine warfare director who had been invited to take part as a consultant.
But the US Navy Fifth Fleet yesterday claimed the article, posted on its website, was factually incorrect.
"The source the report referred to has limited access," said spokesman Lieutenant Greg Raelson.
"He (Capt O'Donnell) didn't understand the broader context of the exercise.
"His information is factually incorrect.
"We will retrieve all shapes (dummy mines) when we are done with training.
"There were no missed mine shapes."